Totes Totes Totes....

Posted by MJ


The LUSJ reported on some of the costs.

By turning refuse collection duties over to the private sector, the City of Lockport should save upwards of $10 million in tax money over 10 years...


The LUSJ reported on the upcoming garbage system that is expected to be voted on next week.

A week from today, the Common Council is set to OK a contract with a private hauling company to collect all garbage in the city.

The vote is historic for several reasons, not the least of which is the city will get out of the refuse collection business and, over time, reduce its employment roll by nine.

Privatization also will bring curbside recycling service to residents, finally, about 20 years after it was introduced in every town around the city.

Also a pretty big deal, the trash pickup program that the city commissioned will relieve city taxpayers of the burden of paying for everyone’s garbage pickup based on their property value.

The new “variable cart” program invites all property owners to help set their own refuse disposal costs, based on how much they throw away versus recycle....
 A nice primer Q&A is also given. And remember to get as much big stuff out in the next few weeks before you'll have to pay to get rid of it, or hold onto it to put out one per month.


Taboo Sold

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that Ulrich has sold Taboo to two of the employees.

Taboo Night Club will be sold to members of its management team by Aug. 1.

Club manager Chris Bell and night manager Brian Junke are buying the business from David Ulrich, Bell confirmed Thursday.

Once a new liquor license is in place, they’ll rename it Lock 34 Bar & Grill and operate it seven days a week.
It's great to see the additional operating schedule. My only question is why do most recent businesses have to tack on "Bar and Grill" to their name? It's superfluous and sounds "dumbed down". Or in the case of the old "Indian Bar and Grill", a tad confusing.

Did Applebee's "Neighborhood Bar and Grill" slogan set a bad precedent? I can see them trying to convince us of what they are trying to be but a local place should not need such a propaganda campaign.

"Lock 34" is a nice simple name. I like "Lock 36" playing off the same concept as the "19th hole" in golf. what better place to end your trip up the canal?

And the more taps there are the merrier. I've always pined for an EBC like the one in Fredonia to be located on Main St somewhere.
Bell said, and five taps are being added for a total of nine draft beer selections, two of which will be less common microbrews, like blueberry beer.
In regards to the old GLDC loans, they are being transferred to the new owners.
 Their deal with Ulrich was sealed Thursday, when the Greater Lockport Development Corporation board of directors approved transfer of an outstanding loan to Lock 34 from Taboo. In 2007, GLDC OK’d a 10-year, $177,000 loan to Ulrich; and terms of the business sale included a requirement that Bell and Junke assume the $115,000 balance. The board OK’d the transfer with two repayment offers: 2 percent interest over 4 years or 4 percent interest over 6 years. Bell and Junke didn’t decide which terms to take yet.
Will this end the "Ulrich has these concerts to enrich his bar." comments?


St Mary's

Posted by MJ

Update 6/23/11

The LUSJ had two articles. One talking with St Mary's and one with All Saints with whom they are supposed to merge with  Starting in September. Shockingly they are going to accept and St Mary's parishioners with open arms (sarcasm added).

Noted in this article was that All Saints offers 3 masses and has three priests. Not noted is that St Mary's has three masses and only one priest. Each brought in about 6,400 dollars last week in offerings. I'd say that St. Mary's is the more efficient/profitable entity. (St John's by the way is the local force with 5 weekend masses).

From All Saint's Rev Vatter:

“I didn’t have a reaction,” said Vatter. “We’re just going along with process .... I felt bad we weren’t all working together. The Vicariate is doing things as a group and we wish that St. Mary’s be part of it.”
We are usurping your parish. Please play along nicely.
“Nobody came from the diocese to meet with us or Father Gary,” said Ulrich who noted that St. Mary’s got a positive score on 17 of 18 points as a parish. “Finances, percent at Mass and programs, we were good on all of them,” he said.

The bishop ruled that St. Mary’s will no longer have weekend Masses and will only be used as a oratory for special services.

Kmiec wrote, “I have been saddened by the effect St. Mary’s appeal has had on the unity of the Catholic Community of Lockport, and I hope the good will that is in each one’s heart will heal any wounds of division.”
How dare a parish scoring 95% question why it is being closed. Play along because your best interest is our best interest. Almost sounds like secular government. People will always be people.


The LUSJ reported that Bishop Kmiec has said that St. Mary's must close by Sept. 1st:
Some parishioners wept Saturday evening at the announcement that St. Mary’s must close by Sept. 1 by order of Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec, Bishop of Buffalo.

Pastor Gary Kibler met with Kmiec on Thursday and read the bishop’s letter from the pulpit after the 4:30 p.m. Mass....
A growing parish on stable financial ground in an iconic Lockport structure is ordered to close while in Buffalo St. Bernard's was allowed another year to "determine if trends toward decline can be reversed." The Bernard's article also mentions: "The bishop cited Chmielewski's willingness to participate in the process as a key element behind his decision." while the St Marys has the broken quote: “"I have been saddened by the effect St. Mary’s..." What division? Parishioners asked."

It would seem to show that humans will play "politics" no matter what the calling or subject at hand is. Play nice and you can get a chance to turn around a shrinking parish. Challenge a questionable decision and continue the closure of a successful parish.



Posted by MJ

LUSJ reported that the city is facing two new law suits. One from Oxford and one From Hoffman.

As for Oxford:

The operators of two addiction-recovery halfway houses are suing the City of Lockport, and a Juniper Street homeowner, for alleged discrimination.

The suit by Oxford House Inc. and local affiliates, filed last week in U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, claims the city is violating two federal laws aimed at protecting the housing rights of “disabled” individuals.

The federal Fair Housing Act counts recovering drug and alcohol addicts as handicapped by a physical or mental impairment that limits the addicts’ “life activities.” The suit also invokes provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Oxford Houses of Western New York LLC, through managing member David Johnson of Grand Island, is the property manager for two halfway houses at 29 Juniper St. and 37 Vine St. that started accepting residents last year.

Oxford House claims the city, through its building and police departments, is using fire, zoning, building, property maintenance and land use requirements to try pushing the halfway houses out of the east-end neighborhood.

Oxford has to know these will be controversial. Trying to be a good neighbor should involve more than meeting minimum codes. Going above an beyond in street cleanup/beautification etc.could go a ways to making a smoother impact

As for the codes themselves, most of the city's response does come from neighbor complaints which the article highlights and some people may not know about. If you are currently tired of looking at code violations out your window and are wondering why the city is not doing anything about it, give them a call and report it and something will be initiated.

As for Hoffman:

No one will pry ever know what the total truth is but it does seem a long way to go to just remove one person. My bigger concern is:

On Feb. 4, Hoffman was 18 days away from the five-year service mark that, under the Lockport City Managers Association’s labor contract, would have qualified him for lifetime city-paid health insurance.
Lifetime? Is anyone out there earning lifetime health insurance after being on their job for 5 years? Is it fully paid? With the exploding costs of health insurance this is an insane legacy cost to a city. As we cut actual city services to the core  the money is still flying out the door and the city continues to suffer. We can see the same in the school district where benefit costs went up $2.9 with only one year short term fund balance funding. Yet we complained about a sports complex. Also there are still state lawmakers trying to make sure we are on the hook for even more.

Cut cut cut all we want. We will still be paying large sums of money for less and less services until we attack the cost structures that are effecting us the most.


Sinkhole - Lane Reduction

Posted by MJ

Update 6/9/11

The Buffalo News gave an update:

It might be three weeks before regular traffic flow is restored on South Transit Street because of a sewer cave-in, Director of Engineering and Public Works Norman D. Allen told the Common Council on Wednesday.

The cost of repairing the sinkhole that opened May 31 has been estimated by the contractor, Yarussi Construction Co. of Niagara Falls, at $380,000 to $400,000, Allen said...

...The soonest that limited traffic could resume is Sunday, Allen said. That would be one lane in each direction on what is normally a four-lane, north-south street...
Update 6/8/11

The LUSJ also reported

Update 6/7/11

The Buffalo News reported that it may cost up to $500,000 to repair the sewer line. the money may need to be borrowed.

...Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Monday the costs of repairing last Tuesday’s sewer cave-in could approach $500,000, which the city might have to borrow...

A major problem has been finding a section of the sewer main that is intact enough to be joined to a replacement pipe. Tucker said Monday it was decided that another 50 feet of the street, back to the next manhole to the south of the sinkhole, would need to be torn up to look for a solid connection...


LUSJ reported that the sinkhole in Transit Rd should be filled in by the weekend. Has anyone noticed the major gridlock? I haven't though it is possible that I may be missing it.

I feel this shows that S. Transit between Main and Summit need not be a 4-lane traffic sewer. It is a perfect street for a lane reduction. Statistics show that a 3 lane (two travel directions and center turning lane) carries just as much traffic and does it safer. For those in disbelief who hold tight to the gridlock theory can see that gridlock doesn't even come if the street is closed all together. We can thank our urban street grid with a multitude of options to get from point A to point B. Also:
  • It opens up room for one side of street parking or bike lanes in each direction.
  • It creates a larger buffer area between pedestrians on the side walk and moving traffic making it a more comfortable street to walk. 
  • It removes the "lane jockeys" from weaving in and out disrupting traffic flow when cars are turning in front of them.
  • It reduces overall speeds since drivers are no longer feeling pushed along a 4-lane rapids or trying to find a faster lane. The speed limit is 30. The street should communicate that in some way regardless of posted signs. LPD may miss the speeding ticket revenue though.
Property values will be suppressed along Transit as long as it remains street for people to pass through quickly instead of a possible pleasurable destination in itself.